Miranda wins partial court victory over data seized at Heathrow
By Molly McDonough
Aug 23, 2013, 11:25 am CDT
David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, has won a partial court victory over data seized while he was traveling home to Brazil through London’s Heathrow airport earlier this week.
Lord Justice Beatson and Judge Kenneth Parker on Thursday issued an injunction blocking the investigators from using or sharing material in any criminal investigation. They were, however, allowed to continue examining data for national security reasons.
“That which has been inspected contains, in the view of the police, highly sensitive material the disclosure of which would be gravely injurious to public safety and thus the police have now initiated a criminal investigation,” Jonathan Laidlaw, a lawyer for Scotland Yard said in opposition to Miranda’s request for an injunction.
Gwendolen Morgan, who represents Miranda, described the injunction as a partial victory and if left unchallenged, “will have serious chilling effects for journalists worldwide.”
Guardian News & Media, which publishes the Guardian, is supporting Miranda’s legal action, responded to the court move, saying it still had “grave concerns that the judgment allows police to examine without any legal oversight [the] journalistic material seized from David Miranda.” The publication maintains Miranda was engaged in legitimate journalistic activity.
Miranda was held for nine hours, the longest possible detention time under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. His lawyers had asked for a full injunction against police or other agencies from inspecting, sharing or copying any seized data. Under the law, police in the U.K. can detain and search passengers at ports, airports and rail stations to investigate national security threats. There is no “reasonable suspicion” requirement.
Investigators are maintaining that the data seized from Miranda’s laptop, mobile devices, DVDs and memory stick contains tens of thousands of pages of material and includes classified intelligence documents, the disclosure of which “would risk lives,” the Guardian reports.
At the time of his detention, Miranda, who lives with Greenwald, had been in Berlin on a trip paid for by the Guardian and was visiting documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, been working to disseminate details from leaks by whistleblower and former CIA contractor Edward Snowden.
Greenwald’s reporting has come under scrutiny by authorities since his series of articles, relying on information provided by Snowden, examining the National Security Agency and U.K surveillance operations were published in June.